Ong on COVID-19’s Impact on Asian Businesses

UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge Director Paul Ong spoke to KPCC and LAist about findings from a survey of members of the Asian Business Association of Los Angeles. More than 400 association members described how their businesses were faring, confirming Ong’s fears that Asian-owned businesses have disproportionately suffered during the pandemic, a trend that has been exacerbated by a surge in anti-Asian incidents. More than half of the survey respondents said they had to close at some point during the pandemic, and nearly a third said their operating capacity had dropped by more than 50%. “I actually believe this is a conservative estimate,” said Ong, pointing out that the negative impact might be even worse than the English-only survey was able to capture. “So many of the hardest-hit businesses are run by immigrants who don’t speak English as their first language,” he said. Ong recommended that policymakers prioritize targeted outreach offered in many languages to support Asian-owned businesses.

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